Fertility rate a factor in long-term growth

Low fertility rates may bring positive influence as well as significant portion on the long-term economic growth prospects of a country, according to a joint-paper presented at the 50th Philippine Economic Society Annual Meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center.

In a panel discussion about the Human Capital Investments and Population Dynamics, Dennis Mapa of the University of the Philippine School of Statistics presented a joint paper titled “Toward the Goldilocks Period: Accelerating the Demographic Transition in the Philippines.”

The joint-paper, which was co-authored by Mapa, National Economic and Development Authority Director General Arsenio Balisacan, and Sharon Piza and Rowel Corpuz of the Asia Pacific Policy Center, observed the factors that would influence demographic transition in countries, looked at various countries’ experience and which factors could the trigger demographic transition in the Philippines.

It said that in the Philippines, the link between population and development continues to be contentious largely to the hard line stance of the Church on the matter, such as using only the natural family planning method and maintaining its traditional stance against modern family planning methods.

The joint-paper also noted that while the on-going debate continues to drag on the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill, seen by many as an institutional reform that will help slow down the country’s’ population growth, the impact of rapidly growing population on poverty continues to drive more Filipinos into misery.

Moreover, Mapa said that the core idea which links population and development is the demographic transition.

Goldilocks period
“As countries move from high fertility rate, or large families into low fertility rate, or small families, they pass through what is called Goldilocks period,” he explained.

He added that the Goldilocks period is described as a generation or two in which fertility rate is neither too high nor too low.

“The Goldilocks period is when the fertility rate associated with this period is about 2.1. That is how demographers would estimate it up to a higher level of 2.4. Between 2.1 and 2.4 is where a country is having a stable population growth,” Mapa noted.

He continued that there is demographic transition when countries reached the fertility rate of about 2.1 to 2.4, which is an opportunity to gain higher income growth, adding that the process is called demographic dividend.

Mapa explained that there are two types of demographic dividend: first is wherein the demographic transition resulted in higher per capita income; and second is when individuals accumulate savings in their working years to prepare them for retirement.

On the other hand, the joint-paper said that advocates of accelerating the demographic transition have placed emphasis on the need for public efforts to heighten voluntary reduction in fertility rates.

It had also identified four variables that influencing the reduction in fertility rate. These variables were women’s education, labor participation of women, mortality rate, and the contraceptive prevalence rate.

The joint-paper also found out that by increasing the level of the education of women, increasing access to contraceptive use, increasing employment opportunities for women, and increasing the under five-years old mortality rate are some of the areas that can reduce fertility rate.

“The very promising area in reducing fertility rate is by improving the level of education of women, because if we increase the years of schooling of the women by one more year, the fertility rate will be also be reduced,” Mapa said.

He added that education of women is also affecting income growth and it is also positively influencing the long-term income growth of the country, because education is positive determinant of income growth.

Refer http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/business/top-business-news/36252-fertility-rate-a-factor-in-long-term-growth

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Fertility rate a factor in long-term growth


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